Bruce owns a small farm and loves to grill since his early childhood. He’s a professional cook, but hiking and enjoying the great outdoors is his no less favorite part of life.
Last updated: February 22, 2021
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Why make garden chores frustrating if the right tool can turn a laborious task into something that’s even fun? That’s why zero turn mowers are popular! They can turn in a small radius, making it easier to get a neat cut on your lawn. But do they work on hills too? We’ll show you which ones do!
To find the best zero turn mower for hills, you need to consider aspects like the motor, so you can be sure it will push up that incline. And of course, you must consider if the cutting height and width will work for you. Since we don’t all have large storage areas available, also look at the dimensions and see if the mower will easily fit through openings in your garden, such as gaps between trees. If there are many small nooks, a smaller mower may be better. Do you want to learn more? Let’s get started!
"Are you looking for a model that costs a bit less? Check this one with a fully-welded steel frame.23HP engine by Briggs & Stratton.42 in. cutting width, 1.5 – 4 in. cutting height.Can be used with utility cargo bed."
"A fantastic commercial-grade ZTR mower with Hydro Gear 3400 transmissions and Electric PTO Warner clutch.31 HP 999cc engine by Kawasaki.66 in. cutting width, 1.25 – 5 in. cutting height.Mowing speeds up to 10 mph."
"This marvelous zero turn mower features maintenance-free hydrostatic transmission and an automatic parking brake, which is incredibly convenient.18 HP engine by Kawasaki.42 in. cutting width, 1.5 – 4 in. cutting height.Low maintenance required."
"With this ZTR, you will ensure optimal comfort while working thanks to plush seat and padded armrests.23HP engine by Kawasaki.52 in. cutting width, 1.5 – 4.5 in. cutting height.Foot-operated deck lift system."
"For those who need more options to control their mowing, this ZTR offers three settings.22.5HP Toro OHV V-twin cylinder engine.42 in. cutting width, 1.5 – 4 in. cutting height.Compatible with multiple accessories."
This is at the top of our list of best ZTR for hills because you’ll have a strong 24HP motor helping you drive up those inclines.
The quality of the grass cut is high thanks to air-induction technology, which pulls in air at the deck’s top and bottom. This means the grass lifts for an ideal cut.
You’ll have an effortless experience thanks to the automatic choke system, so you won’t waste time trying to get the mower going. Other automated features also simplify your cutting, such as the brake system. You can trigger it simply by moving the steering lever.
Your mower will perform well for a long time, thanks to the quality cutting deck. This is also steel-reinforced, requiring fewer repairs and maintenance in the long run. On a good day, you can cover 2.8 acres an hour.
With a 3-year warranty, you have proof that you’re buying high-quality equipment.
What we liked: The diversity of this machine impresses since you can pick between mulching, discharging, or bagging of the cut grass. Just know the mulching kit doesn’t come standard with your purchase.
What could be better: It would be better if all accessories like mulching kits were included.
This is our best value zero turn mower for hills because apart from a strong machine, you’re getting comfort. The Suspension Comfort System prevents you from feeling all the bumps you would usually be subjected to if mowing a rougher terrain. You have enough power to move up the hill thanks to 23HP, and the integrated brake is ultra-convenient.
Your mower will last you a long time since it has a durable steel frame. For the caster wheels, there are quality ball bearings that allow smooth usage and also make them more durable.
This model also comes with a 3-year warranty, showing that you’re buying a reliable model.
A nifty extra is that you have a cargo hold on the machine itself. This can take up to 50lb, so you can carry utensils, debris that you’re removing, or other objects effortlessly. If you’re working on a large lawn and don’t want to keep on returning to the garden shed for tools, this is extremely helpful.
What we liked: Versatility is a winner in this model as well since you can pick any of 13 different cutting heights. Your wide range includes anything between 1.5” and 4.5”, so you can customize your lawn’s cut to your preferences.
What could be better: As with many other ZTR for hills, the air blown out the side could end up blowing grass particles all across the lawn.
Here is an even stronger machine to use as your zero turn mower for hills, thanks to a 31HP Kawasaki engine. With certain components manufactured at commercial standards, it’s an excellent machine for home use if you have a large lawn. The cast iron blades will help you cut your lawn in record time, and they will last long.
You can mulch with this machine, and you can also adjust the seat for optimal comfort. If it’s time for maintenance, you can simply use the electric tilt. You can see the designers had convenience in mind when working on this model. There are even a cup holder and some storage space. And for safety and easy working in low light conditions, use the LED headlights.
The cutting range is more than substantial, giving you options between 1.25” and 5”.
What we liked: This brand adds extra features in all aspects of the mower to improve your cutting experience. For more control during cutting, you’ll appreciate the rapid response control system. The layout even ensures your arms are in comfortable positions. Although speed isn’t a priority, at 10mph, this is one of our faster models.
What could be better: A few users found that fuses could blow from time to time. They’re replaceable, but it’s a good idea to make sure there isn’t another issue causing this.
This is a winner since mowing your lawn doesn’t have to hurt the environment when you use this green machine. Since it’s electric, you won’t have to add fuel and create emissions. The added benefit is that parts like spark plugs aren’t necessary, so you’ll never have to replace them.
The brand states that on one battery charge, you’ll be able to do more or less 3 acres’ cutting, although testing shows battery life may dip much quicker.
Impressive torque from brushless motors is what will push you up the hills.
The mower is easy to handle, making gardening fun. Unfortunately, it’s not the strongest on our list, and you may find that driving over an obstacle like a root may damage the blades.
There are 12 different blade positions, helping you tailor your lawn to your requirements.
What we liked: This is another model that gives you the option of picking your preferred method between mulching, bagging, and discharging.
What could be better: The traction on the rear wheels isn’t perfect, so you may find yourself occasionally slipping on the hills. Also, it’s not the most comfortable seat and suspension system when compared to some other models in our zero turn mower for hills reviews.
Convenience is key when you’re out working in the hot sun, so you’ll appreciate that the brand automated some features for you. No need to set the brakes each time since it only takes you to move the steering levers inward or outward. The brakes will kick in or disengage according to the levers’ movements. This makes it simpler to use, and it will save you a few seconds each time. If you’re working on a large lawn, you’ll realize how convenient it can be.
Other standout features include its transmission that won’t require much maintenance, saving time and money. This is thanks to its hydrostatic design. It’s also one of our zero turn mower for slopes models that last longer because the cutting deck is super strong thanks to the steel incorporated into its construction.
What we liked: This is yet another mower that gives you the option of picking: mulching, bagging, or discharging. You’ll also realize the value of small details ranging from non-slip surfaces to the ergonomics of its control panel.
What could be better: You may find that it works excellent in dry conditions, but you’ll struggle a bit with wet grass. Also, the learning curve on this one is longer for some users. This is also one of the least powerful models on our list of the best commercial zero turn mower for hills.
Once you get the hang of operating this model with your feet, you’ll love gardening since you’re sitting in a comfortable, plush seat, and even the armrests are padded. They’re even adjustable, so this best ZTR mower for hills can work for anyone, no matter your size and build.
The 13 cutting positions are more than enough, and best of all is that you can make adjustments of a ¼ inch at a time. So, you can truly have a manicured lawn, picking the best height for your cut. It’s even easy to make these adjustments, all done with a dial you simply turn to the appropriate setting.
As you can expect from such a market-leading brand, you get a durable mower, and with sturdy casters, you’ll have a little more grip going up the hills.
Note that this model will only work well on hills of an incline up to 10°. If you have a steeper area to cut, you may need a different model.
What we liked: It’s fairly user-friendly, and you only need a key to get it going. The brand also manufactures various accessories, ranging from baggers to light covers to keep your equipment clean.
What could be better: The mower is better for small lawns, so bigger areas may require a more powerful and larger unit.
This model’s standout feature is to give you more control of your mowing. There are three-speed settings to pick: Trim, Mow, and Tow. Depending on what the task at hand is, for example, if you’re pulling along a cart, you can choose the setting that will ensure the best control.
Another handy feature is the air filter housing that’s self-cleaning, so you’ll spend less time doing engine maintenance.
With the only 22.5HP, it’s not the strongest option on our list, so be careful when you go up a hill. You don’t want to lose control and damage the machine or hurt yourself.
The cut height is adjustable between 1.5″ and 4.5″, so it’s on par with what most other mowers offer.
This is another zero turn mower for slopes that comes with a 3-year warranty.
What we liked: The brand offers many accessories, such as a cargo carrier, twin bagger, and even a dump cart that you can tow behind it. There’s a seat cover, although it’s more for protection than improving comfort. On top of that, you may appreciate the handy cupholder.
What could be better: This isn’t the easiest mower to handle. It may take a few times before you’re used to how sensitive the levers are. But that’s something that won’t bother you after a while.
Things to Consider
When you have to pick your ideal ZTR for hills from such an impressive list, it can be intimidating. Our buyer’s guide is created with exactly that challenge in mind, giving you valuable insight into various aspects of this niche market. You’ll learn about different features of zero turn mower for hills, so you can identify which ones are the best for your circumstances. We’ll also answer your most pressing questions, so you’ll think like a pro when you pick yours.
Advantages of zero turn mowers for hills
Your first question may be whether it’s worth investing in a zero turn mower for slopes. These advantages make it clear why many homeowners and individuals in the commercial sector view it as a wise investment:
Better movement: You can maneuver around your garden and around obstacles such as trees like never before. The caster wheels at the front enable you to make turns and go exactly where you need to without the need to reverse the mower, as is often the case with traditional push mowers. When working on a hill, this is especially helpful since you don’t want that extra exertion when working at an angle.
Time: When you maneuver much easier, you’ll save time on cutting. In many cases, the right zero turn mower for hills can help you cut your mowing time in half.
Comfort: Sitting on a seat and simply guiding the mower is much better than tiring yourself out by pushing a mower, especially when it’s up an incline.
Less work: If you get all the cutting done with the ZTR, there’s no need for weed eating around trees or other obstacles on the hill.
Fancy lawns: With a ZTR mower, it’s much easier to create patterns since it’s effortless to maneuver the unit in the direction you want it to go. They usually reverse easily, so whether you want stripes or other patterns around your flower beds, a ZTR can turn you into an expert landscaper.
How to find the best zero turn mower for slopes?
So, you know you need to find the best zero turn mower for steep slopes. Below, you’ll learn about the different features so you can identify the best one for you. You need to compare motors and dimensions as well as consider its cutting features. We cover all relevant topics to make you a pro shopper.
The motor (or engine) is one of the most important aspects to consider. You need enough power to ensure the mower will move up an incline. Note that most mowers will only help if the incline is 15° or less.
Other aspects matter, too, such as how easy they are to start. You’ll see there are models that have automatic choke systems, which will start easier. Have a look at the Husqvarna Z254 as an example.
For some, the motor may be problematic if it creates pollution. For you, there are the electric models, such as the RYOBI RY48ZTR100-1A featured on our list of zero turn mower for hills reviews.
Cutting width and height
Our reviews mention cutting height because not all lawns should be cut the same length. You may have a preference, or a certain height is more appropriate for the type of grass you have. This is why you need multiple cutting height options. Also, look at how easy it is to adjust this height. You don’t want to waste time with complicated settings. The dial found on the Ariens 915267 IKON XD Zero Turn Mower is an example of a user-friendly option.
The cutting width is what helps you cut down on cutting time. With a wide deck, you’ll cut a substantial amount of grass quickly, so it’s ideal for large lawns. But think of the layout of your lawn as well. If you have many flower beds to move between with narrow gaps in between, a narrower one may be best, or the wide deck will prevent you from getting everywhere you need to cut.
Drive system and transmission
You don’t want to replace your ZTR for hills within a few months, so make sure to invest in a model that has a durable drive and transmission system. You want easy driving, so find out how easy it is to control the levers you’ll guide the mower with. Also, it’s wise to invest in models that keep maintenance low with innovative features like the self-cleaning filters found on the TimeCutter SS4225. With this, there’s less chance of the machine getting damaged quickly.
The drive system is important because when you move up a hill, extreme control is essential. Without it, the mower will go up the hill diagonally and even topple over. So, user-friendliness and control are key.
In terms of transmissions, you can opt for hydrostatic, such as seen with the Husqvarna Z242F, which will give you a smooth ride, but be prepared to pay a little extra for these types. With no gears to change, it’s a user-friendly option.
You can also pick between single or variable speed systems. The latter is especially helpful if you’re dealing with grass on hills because adjusting the speed will give you more control. Managing this is usually easily done by simply flicking a switch.
Fuel consumption and tank capacity
You don’t want your new equipment to increase your gardening expenses by too much, so compare a fuel consumption of different models. A more powerful motor may require more fuel, but thanks to modern technology, it’s possible to get a balance between power and consumption. All the more reason to invest in a modern model.
In terms of your fuel tank, you don’t want to be stuck halfway through your cutting. So, look for a tank that’s big enough that you won’t need to refill often.
If you have a large lawn, and you know a refill is inevitable, at least make sure there’s somewhere onboard the ZTR to keep extra fuel in a safe place, so you have it on hand when you run out.
Dimensions are important because you must consider how much space you have available for storage of your new best ZTR for hills. You don’t want expensive equipment standing in the rain. In addition, you need to match the mower’s size with the gaps it needs to move through on your lawn. Are there small spaces between flower beds for which a smaller unit will be more appropriate? Of course, if your priority is to cut a large piece of open grass in the shortest time possible, the bigger, the better. The Swisher Z3166CPKA Big Mow is a great example of a heavy-duty machine that has a large size and offers more power.
You’ll see in many of our reviews a mention of reinforced parts and steel components. Simply look at the Simplicity 2691318 Courier Mower with its steel frame. These features give you value for money because it means that the mower won’t easily break, even after some heavy-duty mowing, or if you need to navigate across rough terrain or over roots and fallen branches.
It’s also important to look at the durability of the blades since they will often get hit by objects like stones. If they easily dent, it will mean replacement costs, so invest in a mower with durable blades from the start.
Research what each part is made of so you know whether you’re buying a high-quality model.
Luckily, the best ZTR for hills can come with a long warranty, as can be seen on many of the zero turn mower for hills reviews. A 3-year warranty, such as with the Husqvarna Z254, should give you peace of mind that you won’t have to replace it soon. Just research the brand’s customer service reputation so you know you’ll get help from them if you ever need it.
Since gardening isn’t always the most exciting or fun task, it helps if your ZTR mower makes it a bit more convenient with unique features, such as:
Covers so you don’t have to clean it each time you use it;
Storage space so you can carry items safely – this can be very helpful when working on a large piece of land;
Cup holders, so you can have refreshing drinks at hand;
A buggy to tow so you can carry cut grass or removed debris with you;
Lights that help you work once the sun sets;
The accessories you’ll need for mulching, which often get sold as additional parts instead of being included in the price.
The type of engine and starter will determine how easy it starts. When it’s an electric mower, it should start easily, but if there’s an old-fashioned choke, you may struggle before you get going. There may also be problems with components like spark plugs, so it’s important to keep maintaining your ZTR if you don’t want issues when starting your gardening tasks. If a component is loose or dirty, it can immediately impact the mower’s functioning.
If you do have a well-operating ZTR, starting should be as easy as turning a key or pushing a button.
A ZTR doesn’t necessarily come cheap. In most cases, you’ll need to spend a few thousand dollars for a quality unit. You can get some of our best ZTR mower for hills models for just over $2000, such as seen with the Simplicity 2691318 Courier Mower, so there are many different price ranges. Some commercial-grade models can cost a few times more.
Colder weather can affect your equipment’s functioning, so give extra care during colder months. You may need to change the oil for optimal output. You can also clean it properly, especially the air filter, to ensure the grass isn’t preventing any components from functioning properly. If you know you won’t use the mower during colder months, remove – or at least disconnect – the battery and replace it in spring. You can also empty the fuel tank, so gasoline doesn’t become stale. Alternatively, leave the fuel in but add a fuel stabilizer, or you’ll have problems getting it started in the coming cutting season.
Are you excited about getting your lawn cut in record time from now on? For the best investment, we suggest you try the Husqvarna Z254 since it’s a durable unit paired with a powerful motor, and the wide cutting width will make grass cutting hills a breeze, even if you have a large lawn.
Another exceptional choice is our number two spot, the Simplicity 2691318 Courier Mower. It impresses with its ultra-sturdy framework, which won’t break when you drive over a little rough terrain. And thanks to ergonomics, you’ll be comfortable during the cutting.
The third option on our list of the best zero turn mower for hills options is the Swisher Z3166PKA Big Mow, and this one has our respect for all the small details that have a big impact: from lights to armrests and an exceptional response control system. Your gardening has never been this easy.